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Salamun Alaikum (Peace be upon you)




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Copyright © 2009 Joseph A Islam: Article last modified 26th October 2011


The Arabic word ‘Mushrikeeen’ means polytheists.  It comes from the root word ‘SH-R-K’ which is the practice of attributing other partners in the worship of the one true God of the universe. Calling upon others along with God or attributing intermediaries, intercessors, companions, God powers and characteristics which are only reserved for the Almighty Lord to any other being, is also tantamount to worship.


What is not often appreciated by many Muslims today is that the word 'Allah' is simply the 'Arabic name for God'.  Even today, many Arab Jews and Christians still refer to their God as ‘Allah’ as did the Arab Jews and Christians (People of the Book) of old.


(Please see related article [1] below)



“And they say: Allah has taken to Himself a son. Be He glorified! Nay, but whatsoever is in the heavens and the Earth is His. All are subservient to Him


Therefore, Allah is simply the Arabic name for God. God cannot be restricted to a name either in Arabic or in any other language. All beautiful names belong to Him.



Say: "Call upon Allah, or call upon Rahman: by whatever name ye call upon Him, (it is well): for to Him belong the Most Beautiful Names...”



“Allah! There is no God except Him. His are the most beautiful names


What many Muslims do not realize, but is clearly evident from the Quranic passages, is the fact that the Mushrikeeen (Polytheists) of the time of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) to whom the Quran was primarily addressed actually worshipped Allah as the supreme God.



“And if you ask them, Who created the heavens and the earth and made the sun and the moon subservient, they will certainly say, Allah. Whence are they then turned away?”


However, along with the supreme God - Allah, they also had called on others besides Allah.



And should you ask them, Who created the heavens and the earth? They would most certainly say: Allah. Say: Have you then considered that what you call upon besides Allah, would they, if Allah desire to afflict me with harm, be the removers of His harm, or (would they), if Allah desire to show me mercy, be the withholders of His mercy? Say: Allah is sufficient for me; on Him do the reliant rely”


A fundamental drive of the Quranic narrative is to destroy this concept of 'shirk'.


A section from the People of the Book had their own rabbi's and priests who they called upon as Holy men and in reverence whom they followed blindly, rendering them in effect as Lords. The Quran’s message was once again geared to destroy these beliefs.



They have taken as lords beside God their rabbis and their monks and the Messiah son of Mary, when they were bidden to worship only One God. There is no God save Him. Be He Glorified from all that they ascribe as partner (unto Him)”


It is the Quran's clear decree that leaders and great men will not help anyone on the Day of Judgment.



“And they will say: O our Sustainer! Behold, we paid heed unto our leaders and our great men, and it is they who have led us astray from the right path”


Today's Muslims call out to the Prophet, their imams, their sheikhs, past revered personalities, saints, religious leaders for help and seek intercession from them and from the dead. This is despite the fact that even the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) himself could not help those or himself when he was alive.



“Say: "I have no power over any harm or profit to myself except as God wills. To every people is a term appointed: when their term is reached, not an hour can they cause delay, nor (an hour) can they advance (it in anticipation)."



“Say: I am not the first of the messengers, and I do not know what will be done with me or with you: I do not follow anything but that which is revealed to me, and I am nothing but a plain warner”









(1)    Those who we call upon bring us closer to God



“Is it not to God that sincere devotion is due? But those who take for protectors other than God (say): "We only serve them in order that they may bring us nearer to God." Truly God will judge between them in that wherein they differ. But God guides not such as are false and ungrateful” 



(2)    They are our ‘Wasilah’ (Means of access) to God



"Say: "Call on those - besides Him - whom ye fancy: they have neither the power to remove your troubles from you nor to change them. Those whom they call upon do desire (for themselves) means of access (Arabic: wasilata) to their Lord, - even those who are nearest: they hope for His Mercy and fear His Wrath: for the Wrath of thy Lord is something to take heed of"


(Please see related article [2] below) 


(3)    When you question them and ask them to follow the scripture (Quran), they simply say we follow our forefathers.



“When it is said to them: "Follow what God has revealed:" They say: "Nay! we shall follow the ways of our fathers." What! even though their fathers were void of wisdom and guidance?” 


(4)    When you say mention God alone, they turn away, but as soon as you mention an associate with God they are pleased.



 “And when God alone is mentioned, the hearts of those who believe not in the Hereafter are repelled, and when those beside Him are mentioned, behold! they are glad” 


(5)    They purchase and mislead men with Idle Hadiths (Tales)



“But there are, among men, those who purchase idle tales (Arabic word used in the Quran -  Luhe Hadith), without knowledge (or meaning), to mislead (men) from the Path of God and throw ridicule (on the Path): for such there will be a Humiliating Penalty” 


(Please see related article [3] below) 


(6)    If you show them clear proofs from the Quran, they turn away.


In the very next verse from the one cited above, God informs us:



And when Our verses (Arabic: ayat-una) are recited to him, he turns back proudly, as if he had not heard them, as though in his ears were a heaviness, therefore announce to him a painful chastisement”



 These are the verses of God which We recite to you with truth; then in what Hadith would they believe after God and His verses?



Illustration - Joseph Islam



(7)     They judge by using other books and sources



“What has happened to you? How do you judge? Or have you a book wherein you read, that you have surely therein what you choose?”


An appropriate analogy is apt here. Today, apart from the Quran, Muslims invoke tomes of literature including the Ahadith corpus, biographies, traditions of men and a plethora of other works found throughout Islamic history to support their particular creed and doctrines. These are not only used to support their belief systems but are also used as part of their judgments.

(Please see related article [4] below) 








What is the difference between a Christian that associates Prophet Jesus (pbuh) along with the worship of God, or attributes the same essence of Jesus to ‘the Father’, or a Hindu who actually worships One Supreme God (Brahman) but associates others with Him?


Also, the Arab ‘Mushrikeen’ of old that believed in Allah but called on others along with Him and with that of some ‘Muslims’ today, who claim to worship Allah but associate the Prophet as an intermediary, or saints and revered personalities along with Him?


Something worth pondering about.



Related Articles:

(1)    Allah is Not an Exclusive Name for God

(2)    What is 'Wasilah' from a Quran's Perspective

(3)    The Best Hadith

(4)    Idolatry According to the Quran



Joseph Islam

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